The ECA was established to audit the EU's finances, so the starting point for its audit work is the EU's budget and policies, primarily in areas related to growth and jobs, added value, public finances, the environment and climate action. The ECA audits the EU budget in terms of both revenue and spending.
The ECA carries out three types of audit, each of which addresses specific questions.
- Financial audit:
Are the EU's financial statements reliable; do they present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position, results and cash flow for the year, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework?
- Compliance audit:
Do EU income and expenditure transactions comply with the relevant legal and regulatory frameworks in all material respects?
- Performance audit:
Are finances soundly managed, i.e. are the funds used kept to a minimum (economy), are the results achieved with the fewest possible resources (efficiency) and have objectives been met (effectiveness)?
In order to provide assurance as to whether payments comply with the legal and regulatory frameworks, the ECA draws on the results of its examination of supervisory and control systems, which are intended to prevent or detect and correct errors in transactions, as well as itself auditing a sample of transactions (payments or revenue). When the systems tested are found to be reliable, the ECA can afford to rely on a smaller sample of transactions in order to reach a valid conclusion as to their legality and regularity. Other sources of evidence, such as the work of other auditors, are also used to support the ECA’s conclusions.
In performance audit, the ECA uses a variety of audit methods to assess management and monitoring systems and information on performance against criteria derived from legislation and the principles of sound financial management (economy, efficiency and effectiveness). When selecting topics, the ECA aims to identify audit subjects which are likely to yield a significant return in terms of identifying possible improvements in the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of EU spending, and in which it feels that risk, public interest and the potential to add value through audit are high. Performance audits focus primarily on issues related to growth and jobs, added value, public finances, the environment and climate action.
The ECA performs its audit work in accordance with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI). It also takes an active part in the development of international standards (e.g. by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions – INTOSAI) alongside national supreme audit institutions.
European Court of Auditors 12, rue Alcide De Gasperi 1615 LUXEMBOURG Tel. : +352 4398-1 firstname.lastname@example.org